The University of Texas-Pan American will celebrate its 71st anniversary Sept. 24 at the historic Shary-Shivers Estate in Sharyland with the awarding of Founders Day medals to six prominent university friends and faculty members.
Also to be honored for their contributions to the university at the Sept. 24 event are Dr. Sylvia M. Dominguez, noted author and professor of Spanish at UT Pan American; R. David Guerra, president of the International Bank of Commerce, McAllen, and a member of The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation Board of Trustees; Joe M. Haggar Jr. of Dallas, retired chairman of the board of Haggar Clothing Company; Dr. Marian Monta, professor and head of the theatre program in the Department of Communication at UTPA; and Charles E. Thompson Jr. of McAllen, a registered engineer, businessman and philanthropist.
"All of the honorees have made special contributions to their professions, to their communities and, especially, to the university," said UT Pan American president Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez. "It is only fitting that we celebrate their achievements, as well as those of the university, at the beautiful home built in 1917 by John H. Shary, who made so many contributions to our region.
"Mr. Shary, who arrived in the Valley in 1912, built his home imposing and sturdy as proof to all that he was planting deep and permanent roots here. The founders of the institution that was to become The University of Texas-Pan American exemplified that same love of the Valley and commitment to its future. That is what we celebrate every fall on Founders Day," President Nevárez added.
Dr. Dominguez, a native of South Texas and specialist in Spanish American literature, has taught at UT Pan American since 1960. An author of books, poems and plays, she also has produced several television presentations and has been awarded the Cervantes Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Guerra, a member of the board of International Bancshares Corporation, oversees 17 IBC branches from Weslaco to Rio Grande City. He serves as a director of the South Texas Higher Education Authority and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. He also serves as a director of the McAllen Permforming Arts and is very active in numerous community organizations, including the United Way of Hidalgo County.
Haggar, who retired as chairman of Haggar Clothing Company in 1994 and from its board of directors in 1995, is a former Dallas city councilman. He is on the board of trustees at the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater; chairman of the endowment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis; and on the board of Brinker International.
Dr. Monta, a native of Hampton, Va., has taught since 1971 at UT Pan American, where she has directed more than 100 plays and twice received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the university. In 1990, she was selected by the Alumni Association for the Distinguished Faculty Award, and in 1994 was elected to membership in the prestigious College of Fellows of the Southwest Theatre Association.
Shivers, chairman of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission since 1995, earlier served a four-year term as a TABC commissioner beginning in 1988. He is chairman of the board of The Seton Fund, which presented him its Dr. Walter E. Reifslager, Jr. Award in 1995, and serves on the boards of the Texas Association of Taxpayers, the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research and the Headliners Foundation in Austin.
Thompson, a Rio Grande Valley native, is a partner in Chas. E. Thompson & Son and president of Franklin Post Mfg. Co. He has been an engineer with Texaco and Mayfair Minerals Inc. and a researcher with the Texas Petroleum Research Committee and has been active with the Boy Scouts of America, St. John's Episcopal Church, the Diocese of West Texas and other charitable organizations.